Dance Community Reflections: RIP Scott “Hardkiss” Friedel

Influential San Francisco DJ and producer Scott "Hardkiss" Friedel passed away Monday night at the age of 43. The cause of death has not been confirmed at this time but is believed to be an aneurysm. It has previously been noted that Hardkiss had keratoconus, a degenerative eye condition that required transplant surgery in 2011, and one of his last social posts a few days ago was about him not feeling well.

A key player in growing the early ‘90s rave scene in San Francisco as one third of the Hardkiss Brothers (along with "spiritual kin" Gavin and Robbie Hardkiss), Scott also had a successful solo career as a DJ and producer. One of his best-remembered tracks is 1993's "Raincry" released under his God Within alias. In the late ‘90s, Scott moved to New York and assumed his full-time persona as Scott Hardkiss, purveyor of pop songs touched with Balearic breakbeats and transcendent funk. He went on to do remixes for artists as varied as Elton John, the Flaming Lips and George Clinton. His debut album Techinicolor Dreamer was released in 2009 and was accompanied by remixes from Christian Prommer, Bjorn Torske, Telepathe and Brennan Green. Scott is remembered as an adventurous collaborator by those that worked with him, including Lisa Shaw, Dean & Britta, and Q-Burn's Abstract Message just to name a few.

In a blog post, Q-Burns (Michael Donaldson) recalls meeting Scott in the early ‘90s when he was shopping around some of his music. "I still remember this sort of hippie-ish thing he said to me then… ‘This isn’t a song … it’s a living being.’ In a follow up email, Q-Burns tells Vibe, "'I bet I'd be a different type of producer and DJ if it weren't for Scott Hardkiss, or maybe not even a DJ as I was more of an indie-rock kid at the start. Scott showed that it was okay to be many things musically at once."

Via email, Derrick Carter remembers Scott for his humanity, as well as for his talent. "Apart from his grand musical tastes, he was a great guy. During one of my early SF adventures, I'd been stiffed by a promoter who'd only bought an outbound ticket for me to play at his party. Scott let me crash on his couch for about a week as I sorted things out. He took me in and treated me like a brother. I'm going to miss having him in this world."

Among the many DJs posting tributes on Twitter, were Tommie Sunshine, Kaskade, Sasha, and Frankie Bones. Tommie Sunshine lamented, “the 90’s Raver in me ca not stop crying.” Kaskade added, "Scott Hardkiss changed the way I listened." Frankie Bones noted, "The network of people surrounding Scott Hardkiss are probably the best group of people you could ever meet."

While he was helming Mixer magazine, Big Shot editor Darren Ressler worked with Scott on 2001’s Mixer presents United DJs of America Vol. 17: Scott Hardkiss. “DJ culture as we know it wouldn’t be the same without his contributions or the provocative art he leaves behind." On a personal note, Ressler adds, “My ex actually introduced me to Scott. She knew all of the Hardkiss guys from SF and would tell me stories about their legendary parties. When I finally met him he was like the anti DJ — he didn't dress, act or behave like most of the DJs I've interviewed. Scott reminded me a bit like the comedian Steven Wright (he had a very dry sense of humor).”

Whether you're still shaking off your Miami buzz, or have ever enjoyed EDM, you can thank Scott Hardkiss for helping to push rave culture into the mainstream, not just as trendy commodity, but as a way to look at the world and build a creative life. On his Soundcloud bio, Scott described himself best: “DJ, producer, remixer, composer, arranger, multi-media artist, designer, writer, inventor, label owner, radio host, mercenary shaman, agent provocateur, 21st-century renaissance cat & ill mothafucka.” Looking over his credits and the outpouring of love online, it's impossible to argue. Rave in peace, technicolor dreamer.


Scott Hardkiss DJs on"Pete Tong's Essential Mix BBC Radio 1”

God WIthin, “Raincry" (Ascension Mix by Rabbit in the Moon)

Beat Freak (Q-Burns Abstract Message Funk Dub) (feat. The Prophetz)

Come On, Come On (Morgan Geist Remix) (feat. Lisa Shaw)

You & I (Bjørn Torske You & I in Outer Space Remix) (feat. Bobby Harden)

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Issa Rae Is Now Co-Owner Of A Natural Hair-Care Brand

Issa Rae is expanding into the world of natural hair care. The Insecure creator and star became the co-owner and face of Sienna Natural, a vegan product line for textured hair.

Rae partnered with Sienna Naturals CEO Hannah Diop to rebrand the company. “I think hair has always been part of my identity,” Rae told Allure. “[Even my] debut was a big chop that I did for Awkward Black Girl.”

Rae’s interest in the natural haircare industry was peaked after watching Diop’s “journey,” in products creation. “I’d been watching Hannah's journey for a while, seeing her developing these products. I got interested in the natural, organic side of hair care. I felt like this was a great opportunity to partner up — not to mention obviously loving what the products did for my own hair.”

Sienna Naturals products are made from “lightweight natural ingredients free from synthetics, harsh chemicals” and “heavy oils.”

The product line includes a Salon in a Box collection for $75, H.A.P.I. Shampoo ($18), Dew Magic leave-in conditioner, and Plant Power deep treatment ($22). Shoppers can visit the Sienna Naturals website to get on the waitlist for product restocks and updates.


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Allow us to reintroduce ourselves… ✨ We are Sienna Naturals and the countdown begins until we’re fully restocked in your shower, so make room! 🚿 Our products are made with lightweight natural ingredients, free of synthetics, harsh chemicals or heavy oils— formulated by women with textured hair for women with textured hair.
 We are so excited to be back with: 💫 Larger product sizes 💫 More accessible price points 💫 A whole new look and whole new face Join the waitlist to get your favorites the second we’re back! Link in bio. Also, here’s your friendly reminder to check your voter registration status.

A post shared by Sienna Naturals (@siennanaturals) on Sep 22, 2020 at 3:00pm PDT

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Mural Honoring Chadwick Boseman Unveiled At Disneyland

A new mural honoring Chadwick Boseman made its debut at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney on Thursday (Sept 24). The beautiful art work was painted by Nikkolas Smith, a former Disneyland Imagineer.

The art installation includes an inscription from Smith that reads: “As a former Disney Imagineer, I had the honor of working on a major children's hospital initiative and Avengers Campus as my final two assignments. Seeing Chadwick's heart for people in-person, and later discovering his courageous battle with cancer, I was inspired to create this tribute to honor his life and legacy. To us, he was and will always be T'Challa. Long Live The King.”

The image shows Boseman kneeling alongside a child in a hospital gown while both make the Wakanda salute. The photo is a nod to Boseman’s many hospital visits with sick children, all while he secretly battled colon cancer. The 43-year-old actor passed away from the disease in August.


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A post shared by Disneyland (@disneyland) on Sep 24, 2020 at 12:18pm PDT

The piece, which will be on display until the end of the year, was Smith's final project as a Disney Imagineer, a job that he held for 11 years.

“This one is special,” he explained in an Instagram post. “My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney. It is a full circle moment for me: my final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the ‘Avengers’ Campus. To millions of kids, T'Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman. I'm so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick's life and purpose in this way.” Smith added a note of gratitude to Disney for being supporting of his artistic journey.

See more photos of the mural below.


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This one is special. My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney. 🐾 It is a full circle moment for me: my final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the Avengers Campus. To millions of kids, T'Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman. I'm so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick's life and purpose in this way. I am grateful to the Disney family for being so supportive of my journey as an artist. @waltdisneyimagineering @disney @marvelstudios @disneyland 🐾✨ #LongLiveTheKing #KingChad #WakandaForever #Phambili #DowntownDisney #BlackPanther #ChadwickBoseman #RIPChadwick #WDI

A post shared by Nikkolas Smith (@nikkolas_smith) on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:01am PDT

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Breonna Taylor’s Mother Speaks Out After Cops Who Killed Her Daughter Get Off Without Charges

Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, says the system failed her daughter. Palmer posted a painting portrait of Taylor on Instagram on Wednesday (Sept. 23) which she hashtagged, #ThesystemfailedBreonna.

The Instagram post serves as her first public response to a grand jury failing to bring charges against three Louisville police officers for killing Taylor. On Thursday (Sept. 24), Palmer shared a photo of a woman carrying a sign with the Bible verse: “It’s wrong to favor the guilty and keep the innocent from getting justice.”


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It’s still Breonna Taylor for me💙💔💙 #ThesystemfailedBreonna

A post shared by Tamika L. Palmer (@tamikalpalmer) on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:19am PDT


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A post shared by Tamika L. Palmer (@tamikalpalmer) on Sep 24, 2020 at 4:52pm PDT

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron held a press conference on Wednesday where he announced that no charges would be brought against Louisville officers Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove, and Brett Hankison for killing Taylor. Hankison was the only one among the three to be charged, but not for Taylor’s death.

In an interview with NPR last week, Palmer expressed her hope that charges would be brought against the officers. “I’m hoping to hear that there will be charges,” she said at the time. “That these people will be fired and arrested.” Hakinson is the only one of the three officers to be fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department after Taylor’s death.

Speaking to her daughter’s character, Palmer stated that the 26-year-old emergency room tech was a “beautiful person inside and out.” She pointed out that Taylor “kept saying that 2020 was her year.”

“And she was absolutely right,” said Palmer. “I hate that it came in that form, but it definitely is her year.”

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